Reactive arthritis!??

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Hello everyone.

I'm a 25 year old male from Canada. Before i got sick, i was extremely athletic (5 days a week bodybuilding, 2 days a week playing professional soccer) . It all started from my trip to mexico. When I came back I had upset stomach and alot og acid reflux for three or four days. Saw my GP, was given Hpylori test and it came back negative. After a few days i started feeling better.

I'm sexualy quite active, however very cautious and perform STD test every month. Surprisingly I haven't gottrn anything so far, not even herpes type one or two. I meet this girl on January 7th and kissed and made out (no sex) and the next day she tells me she has herpes and has broken sore on her mouth. I panicked that there is a chance for me to be infected, then On January 10th i started having severe sorethroat along with high fever till January 15th. Since the symptoms werent accompanied by runny nose or other cold symptoms i saw my GP to make sure i didn't have strep throat, mono or EBV or any other STDS. I did a test, amd all came back negative. The next day as i was feeling better I went out with my friends and had couple of drinka. I woke up on January 17th and i had a sharp pin in my right hand middle finger, at first i thought maybe i was too drunk last night and have hit it somewhere. However. i wake up the next day discovering my right hand point finger is painful. Specially when i tried to bend both at the sme time. Few days pass, middle finger pain subsides, and only my point finger knuckle is a bit inflamed with tenderness. I go on my soccer practice, come home sleep and i get woken up with extreme pain in my shoulder joints, and eye inflammation (felt like my eyes were popping out of my head).. The pain was so bad, i took a trip to ER and after witing for 14 hours to see a doctor (yes wonderful Canadian health system) i was only given advil and was sent home.

Next day i see my GP, he tells me this is more likely to be reactive arthritis, we ran some blood test, and everything came back normal, crp level was at 1, Rheumatoid factor was noy detectable, Anti ccp was negative. esr was normal. I was prescribed Naproxen and sent home. At this point shoulder pain and eye inflammation have subsided. However, i started feeling pain and tenderness on my left knee and left ankle. (no swelling or redness).....after a few hours, ive noticed the pains are migrating through my joints, and when one subsides, the other one gets affected. For example, when my knee and anckle pain subsided, it started attacking my shoulder joint and shoulder blades. Fast forward till January 28 i saw an internal specialist, she took an xray, ran blood virology, ran other immunology tests including hlab27 gene and all came back negative. At this time my hands and knuckles are at no pain what so ever, the only pain I have is in both knees, heel part of my feet and my lower back. I go out drinking again, come home, wake up with inflammed thumb knuckle with severe pain, buttock hurts (as if i was sitting on a rock for days), and the pain keeps migrating through my body. Every single joint is being effected by now. I really dont know whats wrong with me..... I look online, and i dont see anyone with the same symptoms..... could it be reactive arthritis!? (i saw 5 gp and 1 internal medicine, they all agree its reactive arthritis).... however, being a hypochondriac i feel like this might also be rhumetoid arthritis..... tired of this pain... anyone with similar experience!? I havent been to the gym, or played soccer since, im depreand have lost 15lbs. Any help is appreciated.

0 likes, 11 replies


11 Replies

  • Posted

    Depressed * Sorry about typos, typped it in using my cellphone...... FYI.... I have health anxiety (hypochondriac) and suffer from anxiety disorder.
    • Posted

      couple of things to add...

      My knuckled get slightly red in the mornings (only the ones that are effected at times).. (at this moment I have been pain free in my hands, The arthritis has focused on my hips and feet (any time soon would come back to my hands as it migrates). No visible stiffness during mornings... just the usual 2-3 Minutes stiffness till i get my coffee. No visible inflammation to my eyes.. Slight inflammation in the mornings in all my fingers (but i think everyone is like that due to blood circulation while asleep).

      The other thing out of ordinary is all my joints crack and pop (which it never have happened to me).. thank u

  • Posted

    Hi James, 

    Have you seen a rheumatologist? .. lots of people have these symptoms...sounds like you have an issue where the tendons join onto the bones and / or bursitis... quite often both go together... i woudl not be surprised if the pain in your fingers and thumb is within the tendons not the joint.. have you had an ultrasound... this would tell you if in tendon or joint.   If tendons/bursitis then chances are your sport has hurt you... your technique might be slightly wrong and has put out your body ... if you look up e.g. "swimmers shoulder american swimming association" on the internet you will find umpteen examples of shoulder issues even amongst elite athletes.  Suggest you look up e.g. Canadian Body building association and see what are typical injuries. 

    But sounds like you have tendon / ligament / bursitis issues to me thourhg either overuse or more probably, bad technique.  If so, get yourself to a really good sports physio and be prepared to take 9 months to get better - and find out how to do it all properly from an expert.   

    OR it could be reactive arthritis following food poisoning - i really dont think it will be due to the herpes at all.  This is hard for anyone to diagnose in my experience. Change you diet ASAP and go 'pure' for a few weeks - tons of veg, fruit, seeds, fish. Cut out the gluten and dairy and give your gut time to recover a bit  OR 

    it could be psoriasis - do you have this? If not then probably one of the first two at your age.   I'd you have had x-rays of the joints and they are OK, and rheumatoid is OK, then ask for an ultrasound on your hands and check the issue is within the tendons. (This might also be the issue in heels with achiles too).  If within the tendon, then diet and physio and correct technique are the way forwards - the medics are not so much good then but the physios are... 

    in other words sounds like you have given up too early and are getting depressed. Find out whats wrong with you before you give up. Sounds lke they have got rid of the really nasty stuff so chances are its not so nasty but the bum thing really sounds like bursits and you seem to have inflammation at key tendon points to me... at your age chances are its technique and diet.  I;d get some condoms too as STD's trigger reactive arthritis and if you are Ok now, i wouldnt put myself in a position i might get it... 

    So cheer up for goodness sakes; no reason to be depressed.. get a correct diagnosis and the above is a good place to start... 


  • Posted

    Hi James,

    It will get better......

    I have similar story to your self. I was 31 years old when my joint pain started after passing blood with a potential samonella infection two years ago. The pain started in my shoulder blades,back and neck . The pain then travelled to my knees, hips heel and top of my hands (worst pain). I too wake in the morning with red puffy fingers from time to time. The fatigue was probably the hardest part to deal with. I seen 17 doctors over a period of two months with all symptoms red eyes etc and nobody put them all together. I paid privately to see a rhumy who diagnosed me within 5 mins. I had a mri of sacrolliac joint to rule out ankolysing spondlitis, which was negative. I have had xray of hands, feet ,neck and chest all negative. I am hlba27 negative and rf negative. I would say it took about 14months for pain to subside. I had a slight relapse when i tore my medial ligament, the rhumy says trauma can set it off again. Today i am pain free and i see rhumy every 6 months. He says its a case of wait and see, if it develops to be chronic or not.

    Good luck

  • Posted

    I forgot to add .. i too thought this was rhumatoid arthrtis, but rhumy says the joint pain is more constant and i know two people who have Ra and the swelling they had on there feet and hands was more severe.

    If i can give you one piece of advice keep exercising, keep those joints moving. I found it very hard too at the start, but the benefit to the mind and my overall well being outweighed additional pain to my joints.

    • Posted

      Wont be RA. You feel really really unwell with RA when it first hits you. Really poorly. The GP's can normally see its RA immediately just from how you are. 
  • Posted

    Hi James! How are you getting on with all of this? I woke up in Mid November with a burning in my right elbow, which spread in the space of a week to all of my joints. I have had some days where things feel not too bad, the pain is still present, but mild, but other days where I can feel it all over the place again. I haven't had a diagnosis. Rheumatologist that I saw off handedly mentioned a reaction to an infection at some point. My blood tests are all clear also (I have a positive for Epstein Barr but not recent). I had some stomach issues that started around May last year that were diagnosed as right sided faecal loading. That diagnosis addressed the pain I was having in my gall bladder area, but I was having pain in the lowest part of my stomach also, so i'm wondering if that was my infection. It was pretty bad at the time, and came and went. It died away the last few months but I still feel it from time to time. I don't even know if that's solely down to me stopping trying to exercise and aggrevating it.

    The thing is, from the time when those stomach pains started, to my joint pain starting was a space of about 5 months (not that the stomach issues went away in that time.) The pain that i get feels like a migrating burning that moves around. It causes me more typical pain at times also, almost like I've sprained the joint, but most often, it feels like a burning within the joint. Like sunburn which varies in severity and is worst when i wake up or sit in one place for a long time. Right now it's worst in my knees, wrist and hands. Does this sound similar to what you have? I have no visible swelling at all. I also have red joints throughout my fingers, but I can't tell how different they were before because I wasn't paying much attention before they started burning.

    I wanted to reply because I thought i might have written your post when I first started reading it. My name is also James and was very physically active before this (trained no less than 5 nights a week and played soccer at least twice a week) I had decent muscle mass and trained for obstacle races. In the last 7 months however, that's all fallen off me. The clicking and grinding in my joints is one of the scariest parts for me, I even heard it in the centre of my chest the other night, as though someone was crushing a crisp packet in there. It wasn't my imagination because I could recreate it by moving my chest and breathing deeply. It feels as though all of my joints are deteriorating as there isn't a single one that isn't affected. Even my jaw is clicking and grinding when it never did it 6 months ago. Has anything been prescribed for you?

  • Posted

    Thank you Everyone for your comments. I'd like to share that I do Feel 90% better. I'd like to share the things I did that helped me with my recovery. As i was starting to feel better and sysmptoms were gone by 90% I came down with another flu which caused inflamation of the  heart sac (percarditis) which i thought i was having a heart attack, But things got better after i thought i was getting worst and there wasnt a light at the end of the tunnel. Things do get better. I implemented a regimen to my diet which I beleive it helped with my recovery. 

    Please note I am not a doctor nor have any medical background. I'm simply sharing my own exprience. My father beleives that if a condition is developed within body itself,  it could also be reveresed by body itself. Therefore, he recommended I try some of his traditional herbal recipes which includes: 

    1. A glass of hot water with 1-1/2tbs turmeric, 1tb ginger, 1tb cinnamon. 3 times a day 30 minutes before each meal 

    2. boil 2 garlics in water, let it cool, and add apple juice to it. Have two tsb everyday upon waking up. 

    3. Red meat juice - this is done by putting a red meat in a jar, close the lid and place it in boiling water. Eventually after couple of hours, a juice gets settled in the jar. ( Some people get inflamation by having red meat, it was never the case for me, i found that the red meat juice helped me with my energy) 

    4. 150 billion probiotic pills ( this is the maximum I could find ath health stores.)

    5. branch chain amino acids( I used to take this to recover from working out, therefore, I started taking it as I thought might be beneficial for the joint pain) 

    6. High protien, low carb,low fat diet , followed by a high carb cyle diet. 

    Along with above regimen, I was also put on high doses of Ibuprufen for 5 days to help with the inflamation in my heart sac. (1200-1500 mgs/day) along with zantac to prevent ulcer.  ( but i do not think it contributed to my recovery as I was feeling better before I got the heart inflamation)

    last but not least, get busy , go outside, hangout with friends, and try yourbest to force yourself to be like before. I know this is exteremly hard, but it does help with your energy level and overal health. I'm a hypochondriac, so this also added to my anxiety as I was googling for other causes and I noticed I was starting to have physical pain and symptoms that aren't usually there ( Mind is powerful). therefore, I stopped googling things and looking up diseases. 

    I was seen by an specialist, we ran test for lupus, Ra, and other Autoimmune diseases and it came back negative, doctors still are not sure what caused this reactive arthitis, I came back negative for EB virus , herpes and all other viruses. They think it might have been caused by a simple flu that I had prior to all of this .

    As of now, I do have some inflamation in my joints sometimes, but they are not noticeable, unless I pay attention to them. (specially by my shoulder blades and ribs(costochondria). ) Other than that, I'm just happy im 90% better, and Hopefully i would not come down with another fluwink

    If you have any questions, you could always msg me. I hope you all do feel better. 

    p.s Road to recovery was almost 2 month from the onset of the sympoms 


  • Posted

    Hi james...I was going through your discussion and happy to.know that you are recovered. The regimen you adopted in your diet is really helpful and we do treat patients having reactive arthitis with similar procedure. Moreover you can add clove and black pepper into the regimen for much better and faster results.... Good luck and stay blessed.....

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